Shubuta, Mississippi, located in Clarke County, is home to many of the original settlers on Rapp Road. The majority of this migration from Shubuta, Mississippi to Albany, New York occurred in the 1930s and 1940s. Many migrants left the area seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Shubuta, Mississippi is a typical southern town with strong ties to Albany, New York.
Founded on the banks of the Chickasawhay River, Shubuta's past dates back to early Indian settlements. Derived from a Choctaw Indian word (Shoboti) the name means "smoky" and was given by the Indians to a nearby creek that is an arm of the Chickasawhay River that still has smoky waters. The town of Shubuta was established in 1853 when the Mobile & Ohio Railroad was built. The railroad became the lifeblood of the community as trade and opportunity grew from abundant farming and timber resources. Today Shubuta's economic climate has grown from farming to large timber and lumber processing, as well as extensive oil and gas activity.
Life in Shubuta, Mississippi in the first half of the twentieth century was hard for most African Americans. Shubuta was a rural community with a population of 920 in 1920. The predominant employment opportunities open to blacks in Shubuta during this time was sharecrop farming and saw mill labor if you were a male, and domestic work, if you were a female. African Americans had few rights in the South prior to the Civil Rights Movement and racial discrimination was widespread. The United States Constitution allowed separate but equal public accommodations based on the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case. The reality was separate and very unequal. Jim Crow laws enforced this discrimination.
Research is currently underway to preserve and document the history of the Rapp Road Community. If you have any information, photographs, or objects that relate to any aspect of Rapp Road or to Albany and the Great Migration, please contact us.
The Rapp Road Community History Project
is devoted to recording, researching, and discussing
the history of the Rapp Road Community.